The two players competing for the AL MVP, are also the two players who would compete for the MLB MVP award — if that existed. What I’m trying to say is this season Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout have been the two best, and most valuable players in the MLB.. Sorry Andrew Mccutchen. Cabrera and Trout are both incredible in their own ways, and will be competing for many of these awards in the future. But who’s going to win the MVP this season? Read below to find out.
Once you’ve done that, vote on the poll at the bottom of the article. Make sure you vote wisely, because the winner of the debate gets $5.
Also to check out our NL MPV debate between Posey and Mccutchen, click here.
[one_half] By: Phil Watson
Just 29 years old and already in his 10th major-league season, Cabrera has already finished in the top five in the Most Valuable Player voting five times in his career. It’s no surprise then that Cabrera is right in the thick of the MVP race again this year as he tries to power the Tigers to their first back-to-back postseason berths since Detroit split consecutive World Series appearances in 1934 and 1935.
Looking at the traditional statistical categories (stats through Thursday’s games), Cabrera is flirting with a triple crown. He’s second in the American League with a .325 batting average, trailing only Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels (.336). His 32 home runs are sixth-best in the AL, six off the pace of Chicago White Sox slugger Adam Dunn. With 107 RBI, he is second in the league, five behind Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers.
In the advanced stats, Cabrera is no slouch either. His .390 on-base percentage ranks fourth in the AL, he is third in the league with a .581 slugging percentage, second with his .971 OPS and FanGraphs.com’s advanced metrics place him third in the AL with a wins-above-replacement value of 5.4.
Gaudy numbers to be sure and this year they’ve come despite moving across the diamond defensively from first base back to third base, a position he hadn’t played regularly since 2007 and not at all since 2008. While he hasn’t reminded anyone of Brooks Robinson at the hot corner, Cabrera has played the position credibly, which is more than many analysts (myself included) were expecting when the Tigers reported to Lakeland, Fla., for spring training.
So how consistent has Cabrera been in his career? He’s won a triple crown of sorts by leading his league in all three categories once in his career. He won the AL batting title last year with a .344 average while leading the Tigers to the AL Central title. He led the AL with 37 home runs his first year in Detroit in 2008 and his 126 RBI topped the league in 2010, the year he finished a distant second to Hamilton in the MVP voting.
And he’s done all of it while never missing more than 12 games in a season.
Baseball-reference.com tracks what it calls similarity scores, where a player is compared to other players when they were the same age. Cabrera’s career tracked with Hank Aaron when he was in his early 20s, Ken Griffey Jr. in his mid-20s and now most favorably compares with Frank Robinson. That’s some pretty good company.
Despite his consistent greatness, however, Cabrera always has seemed to be overshadowed when it came time for MVP hardware to be handed out.
In addition to his runner-up finish in the 2010 voting, Cabrera was fourth in the AL MVP race in 2009 behind eventual winner Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins, fifth in the AL in 2011 when teammate Justin Verlander won the award, fifth in the National League as a Florida Marlin in 2005 (Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals was the winner) and fifth again in the 2006 NL MVP voting, the year Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies’ captured the award.
It appears he may be running an uphill battle again this year, as Trout appears to be the media darling in 2012. Trout’s been great, hitting a league-best .336 so far with 25 home runs, 74 RBI and league-best totals of 103 runs scored and 41 stolen bases while playing a Gold Glove-caliber center field … and he’s done it all in just 108 games and despite turning just 21 in early August.
But Trout began the season in Triple-A and didn’t appear in the majors until April 28. I’m certainly not knocking Trout’s contributions this season. He’s the runaway Rookie of the Year winner already.
But for my money, Miguel Cabrera has been the American League’s Most Valuable Player again in 2012 and it sure would be nice to see him actually win the award for once.
[one_half_last] By: Harry Orbach Miller
When Mike Trout was called up this season he likely had aspirations to win rookie of the year, but he has surpassed even that. Trout is now a legitimate American League MVP candidate, with a great chance to take home the award.
While many would have thought that Trout would success in the Major Leagues, few probably imagined the success he would have. He currently leads the AL in Batting Average (.333), Stolen Bases (43) and Runs Scored (108). The amazing part of Trout’s stats is that he has only played 113 games. Which means, that every .956 games Trout will score a run and every .381 Trout will steal a base. Some truly exceptional statistics.
Another aspect is that Trout has only been caught stealing 4 times out of 47 attempts, a success rate of 91%. The next highest base stealer, Rajai Davis (40), has been caught 11 times, only a success rate of 78%.
Trout has exceeded in all statistical categories, pulling away from the rest of the league, but his exceptional impact has been felt most on his team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. As of June 29th, the Angels record with Trout was 37-19. Almost a 2:1 ratio of wins to loss when Trout plays, and if that doesn’t speak to his impact, I really don’t know what does.
Additionally, Trout is having a record-breaking season, as he has become the youngest player to reach the 25-homer and 40-steal club. There is only one other Angel who has ever accomplished this and it was Barry Bonds. The difference is that there are no suspicions on how Trout accomplished this feat: Through hard work, skill and determination.
Trout’s fielding has also been exceptional, as he sports a .986 Fielding Percentage putting away runners on 271 of his 277 chances.
The player Trout is competing with for the MVP is the Detroit Tiger’s Miguel Cabrera. Yes, Cabrera has higher power numbers than Trout, but looking at their WAR numbers shows the difference in the two players. Cabrera’s WAR is 5.8, which is good for 6th in the league. Trout on the other hand, is a whopping 9.3, which is tops in the entire MLB, let alone the AL. While both star with a bat in their hands, Trout completely outshines Cabrera defensively with a Defensive WAR of 2.2, good for 6th in the MLB. Cabrera isn’t even top ten.
When it comes down to determining who the most valuable player in the American League, it’s Mike Trout without a doubt. He is a stats leader in almost every category and is the most valuable player with the bat, glove and to his team.